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lifestyle & arts

THe North shore weekend

‘Gatsby’ event great for charities

Steven and Melissa Esposito (left) and their children Michael and Stephanie Esposito (top right) pose with an old Ford pickup truck at Lake Forest Sportscars with Air-One co-chairs Rick Sheffler, Lori Rozdolsky and Elizabeth Van Holt.

photography by joel lerner

■ by kevin beese Get some spats. Get the tuxedo out of storage. Google “how to do the Charleston?” A “Gatsby” event, supporting two local charities, is being planned for later this month; and the event organizer expects an evening of “wild fun.” Air-One Emergency Response Coalition, which provides air search and rescue operations in Lake County, and Association of Horizon, Inc., which offers camps for adults with disabilities, will be the beneficiaries of the Oct. 19 fund-raiser being put on at Lake Forest Sportscars in Lake Bluff. Heal Team 6, a nonprofit looking to help charities connect with businesses and potential supporters, is coordinating the event. The Heal Team 6 organization is the brainchild of Steven Esposito, senior vice president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. He and his family have turned the hobby of helping charities into an organization to give charities all they need to have a successful fund-raiser. “Young charities have all this energy, but do not know how to go about raising awareness of their organization and promoting businesses that want to support them,” Esposito said. “There is not that connection. We are that missing link.” With Ferrari and Aston Martin cars serving as a backdrop, this event, which will run from 6-11:30 p.m., will feature a fashion show, full casino, five bars, food from seven restaurants, and live and silent auctions. Brad Thor, a 13-time best-selling author, also will be present. Through Esposito’s friends, clients and business associates, enough funds have already been raised to cover the cost of the event. Because of that, he said, 100 percent of the money raised through the event will go to the two charities. Esposito said that all Air-One and Horizon have to do for the event is sell tickets and provide some volunteer help for the event. He hopes to raise close to $100,000 for the two charities through ticket sales, which are $150 for general admission and $250 for VIP services. Cocktail attire is requested

10/05 – 10/06/13

and “Great Gatsby” attire is encouraged. Old-fashioned streetlights are being brought in to add to the ambiance; and members of the Citadel Theatre Company will be present in “Gatsby” wear and attitude, Esposito noted. Heal Team 6 looks to be a resource for charities. “We give them the venue. They give us some volunteers to work,” Esposito said. “The boards of these organizations get to mingle rather than take tickets and work tables. They can network more to get money for their organization. Fund-raising events often stop being fun for board members.” This is the first event being put on by Heal Team 6, which includes Esposito; his wife, Melissa; his children, Stephanie and Michael; and three of his friends, Neal Heriaud, Elizabeth Van Holt and Rick Popp. He said the “Gatsby” theme came out of the idea of putting on an event to get people to dress up. He said combining fashion, money, cars and fun should be a hit. “You do not want to do your typical rubber chicken dinner,” Esposito advised local charities. “You want events people want to go to because they’re fun. “It is our family hobby,” Esposito said of charity work. “We put in hundreds of man-hours.” Kathy Kingston, who, with friends, started Horizon in 1991, said the fund-raiser is an opportunity to raise close to half of the funds needed to run the weeklong summer camp for adults with disabilities. “As the economy has gotten worse, it has gotten harder and harder to raise money,” Kingston said. “We are constantly asking family and friends for funds. This event will put us in connection with people who we do not get access to normally. “We can’t thank Heal Team 6 enough for this benefit. Because of Heal Team 6’s support, we can use funds for a video to show at other events. We want to get out there and share the message that we transcend barriers and all who come to our camp are treated equally.” For information about attending the Oct. 19 event, go to http://healteam6.org/healteam6/ or call Esposito at (847) 922-9250. ■

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